Boothbay Harbor, Maine
The coastal town of Boothbay Harbor, Maine is a perfect destination for a reprieve from hustle of every day. Between its rich history, quaint local shops and boutiques, delicious dining and world-class boat excursions, there are all kinds of fun things to do in Boothbay Harbor.
A 1,000-foot long footbridge connects the east and west sides of the Harbor, allowing easy access for visitors to enjoy a plethora of fun activities. You will be captivated by the quiet coves, rocky shores, and island lighthouses and by the warmth and friendliness of the locals, turning strangers into friends. Read on to learn about things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Things to do in Boothbay Harbor
Boothbay Harbor serves as a great place to stay during your Maine vacation as you travel along the Maine Coast. One scenic drive from Boothbay Harbor is out to Ocean Point, to see the sunrise and sunset – drive the Ocean Point loop, bring a picnic to savor on the rocks and enjoy the passing sailboats and views of lighthouses.
Boothbay Harbor has been referred to as the Boating Capital of New England. With over 25 daily boat excursions leaving right from the bustling harbor, there is an adventure waiting for travellers of all ages! Harbor tours are a great way to explore the area and see nearby islands, like Burnt Island and further out to sea Monhegan Island. There are also many excursions that offer up close and personal encounters with Maine wildlife like puffins, seals and even whales! Enjoy a romantic sunset schooner or speeding windjammer ride led by captains who have sailed all over the world. Visitors can also check out local boat yards to see the tradition of world-class boat building that is still alive today.
Boothbay Harbor is recognized for having some of the best sea kayaking in Maine. With water ranging from open seas to more calm and protected rivers and inlets, there are plenty of opportunities for kayakers of all ages and skill levels. You can bring your own kayak or get a rental at one of the many nearby shops. These rental shops also offer guided tours of the area, for kayakers to explore nearby islands or just paddle around the harbor at their leisure.
If you are staying in Boothbay Harbor and have extra time, a trip to nearby Monhegan Island may be worth your while. Monhegan is a small rocky island approximately ten miles off the coast of Boothbay Harbor, accessible by ferry. With no paved roads, cars or streetlights and limited shops and inns, Monhegan is a unique escape from bustling towns. The wooded Island is blessed with 17 miles of beautiful walking trails for any nature-lover to enjoy; but paths can be rough and rocky so remember to wear sensible shoes and consult local trail maps before setting off. The Lighthouse on Monhegan was built in 1824 and is still actively shining. Views from the Lighthouse site are incredible, as one can see the entire village, harbor, mainland and nearby islands. The former lighthouse keeper’s house is now a museum focusing on the history and culture of the island.
Nature Walks and Hiking Trails
Boothbay itself is also home to over a dozen stunning nature trails. The Boothbay Region Land Trust preserves over 20 miles of hiking trails for visitors to enjoy year-round. Trails range from easy to challenging and are suitable for visitors of all ages. Trek through scenic meadowlands, forests, wetlands and rocky coastline that all make up beautiful Boothbay – you may even encounter some real Maine wildlife! Barrett Park on Linekin Bay is great for swimming or picnicking and has a playground for kids.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Don’t miss the incredible Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, with 250 acres of gardens and grounds to explore. From pristinely cared for flowers to waterfalls and stonework, the Gardens are beautiful to explore year-round. Walking the extensive beautiful planted grounds is a pleasure. Boothbay’s Botanical Gardens hosts classes, lectures and parties throughout the season.
Kids and adults will enjoy a visit to the Boothbay Railway Village, celebrating over 100 years of operation. The Railway village has a large collection of over 60 antique autos, historic buildings and a narrow gauge railway ride. Also check out the historic Opera House where local plays, concerts and productions are hosted each summer in a lovely historic setting just steps from downtown Boothbay Harbor.
Maine State Aquarium
A visit the Maine State Aquarium is a must for sea lovers, oceanographers or just curious kids, where the largest lobsters come in all colors – white blue and even calico. The Boothbay Aquarium even has a petting tank where kids can touch live lobster and starfish. Golfers visiting Boothbay will want to try out Boothbay Country Club’s world-class golf course.
Events in Boothbay Harbor
Boothbay Harbor is great to visit year-round for its annual events. In April, Boothbay celebrates the annual Fishermen’s Festival, which includes fun activities like the Miss Shrimp Contest, lobster trap hauling, an old-fashioned fish fry, boat parade and much more! In June, the annual Windjammer’s Day is a local and tourist favorite with a fantastic fleet of ships under sail. Watch beautiful windjammers sail in to Boothbay Harbor and friendly pirates invade the town. Sailboat races, boat parades, fireworks, kids programs, concerts and more are all part of the fun of Boothbay’s Windjammer Festival.
Restaurants in Boothbay Harbor
Dining in Boothbay Harbor is typical of many seaside towns in Maine, but still equally delicious. Visit a dockside restaurant along teh Piers at Boothbay and savor steamed clams and mussels, and other seafood treats. Or enjoy a succulent lobster dinner overlooking the beautiful harbor. Boothbay Harbor restaurants serve up some of the freshest local catches like fish, scallops, shrimp and oysters! In fact Maine’s top lobster chef 2014 hails from Boothbay. If seafood is not your thing, don’t worry – restaurants serve up a variety of other delicious food sure to please any appetite. Boothbay Harbor is also home to classic sweet shops and Maine made ice cream parlors.
A visit to Boothbay Harbor can be whatever you want it to be – a peaceful time to unwind and relax by the ocean, shop the village boutiques, to a more active vacation full of hiking, kayaking, biking and other ocean adventures, or a family getaway that will create memories to last a lifetime. Learn about what to expect for lodging in a bed & breakfast or inn in Boothbay Harbor.
Regardless of when you come or how long you’ll stay, we’re certain that you will find the Boothbay Harbor area is truly the Soul of the coast.
Boothbay Harbor is a classic seaside Maine town – coastal, compact, cute with a cluster of great shops, fun cafes, beautiful inns, and a bunch of boat excursions leaving from the waterfront Piers.
Boothbay Harbor is an ideal destination by car or by boat – and its a better bargain than say Kennebunkport or Bar Harbor, Boothbay lodging is often plentiful typically without the big price tag. The locals are friendly and the opportunities for shopping, sailing, and exploring are as abundant as lobsters in summah upta Maine.
Our Top 10 Things to Do In Boothbay Harbor Maine
Walk this way in Boothbay! Boothbay is a great walking town, with a dozen cool Maine craft shops in close vicinity, mostly along the harbor waterfront. The village of Boothbay Harbor is both historic and hilly, with charming streets lined with flower boxes, Inns and Bnbs, jewelry and art stores, candy and ice cream stands.
Cross the Boothbay Footbridge that spans 1,000’ across the inner harbor, this historic wooden walkway was built in 1901 (costing $1,500!), taking you out to the 1902 Bridge House located mid wharf where you can read about its fascinating history. The view of the harbor and the many boats moored and docked from Footbridge is special. Interesting fact, Boothbay is considering a $2.8 mill bridge redesign.
Boat Boothbay! The best way to see Boothbay is by boat. If you can’t BYOB – bring your own boat, then rent a kayak or paddleboard from Maine Kayak or Tidal Transet and paddle around the bay, passing lobster boats and magnificent pleasure yachts in the harbor, around McFarland Island and out to Tumbler Island. Boothbay is considered the best kayaking in Maine, you’ll soon “sea” why!
Sail or charter from Piers 8-1 (let us know if you find Piers 5-2?). Departing daily from these docks are Balmy Days cruises, Schooners East Wind or Lazy Jack, and more, all offering harbor cruises, daily tours and sunset excursions out to see Boothbay’s three lighthouses– Burnt Island Light, Ram Island Light and the Cuckholds Light. You will also likely glimpse harbor seals, dolphin and Maine birds on your boat tour. A trip to Monhegan Island via Ferry is an unforgettable experience, but a long day, 90 minutes cruise out to sea, and back, to this remote rustic dramatic isle, which resembles Ireland as much as Maine, enjoy the perimeter hiking and prominent 1824 Monhegan Lighthouse.
Shop BBH! Don’t miss Boothbay’s most unique Maine shops and art galleries … Enchantments is otherworldly, a magical mystical tour through levels and layers in a spirited old red barn. It’s like Halloween meets holistic healing, with wizards and witchcraft, wind chimes and crystals, dragons amidst Buddhist fountains and tarot cards. Across Boothbay House Hill Road, you’ll find Sue – a lively Maine gal selling jams, jellies and pickled yummies, with a helping of her local commentary. Finest Kind in town is another gem- a veritable museum of fabulous retro costumey clothes and décor for sale with Brenda Lee happy to assist. Too many great BBH shops to name – Sweet Bay, Smiling Cow, Tidepools, Eventide, Dirty Bird Pottery, Coastal Maine Popcorn are a few…
Drink in the Bar-muda Triangle – The place to chill with a cocktail is at the end of Wharf Street, where 3 of Boothbay’s best bars meet, and where the locals do too. Mine Oyster, Pier Pub and McSeagulls make up the social circuit. Take your pick, or pub crawl ’em all, maybe even take your picture with Bartender and former Maine Governor Paul Le Page at McSeagulls while enjoying waterfront views, fresh lobster and cool drinks, with boat passing by.
Seafood & eat it! Boothbay has lots of great dining, featuring fresh local lobster, scallops, fresh haddock, calamari, clams, oysters, shrimp – you name it! There’s often live entertainment at one of Boothbay’s lively spots. Boathouse Bistro Tapas has wonderful top deck dining. Coastal Prime across the Footbridge, at Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort, offers the freshest local seafood – artfully prepared and Prime Steak for landlubbers, served with a side of harbor views an sunsets –whether you dine in or outside – its chic but casual, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Stay in Boothbay! The best location in town is Tugboat Inn or sister property Fisherman’s Wharf, both perfectly perched over the Harbor with their own marina – if you arrive by boat and want a great dock slip. Not fancy, Fishermen’s and Tugboat’s location are prime and most rooms have scenic balconies with views of Boothbay’s magnificent church steeple – Our Lady Queen of Peace, and the boats filling the bustling harbor, and your steps to town for shopping, dining, cafes, and boat trips.
Wanna get away? The quietest most picturesque place to stay is Ocean Point Inn, just 7 miles from town out on Linekin Bay. This historic oceanfront resort has a commanding view out to sea, and pretty cottages and rooms offering ocean breezes and THE BEST sunsets. Go to Ocean Point at the very least for a seaview sunset dinner with delicious seafood, the lobster bisque is outstanding, so is the Chicken Atlantis and most everything on the menu. You can even arrive by boat on their docks with a quick cruise across the harbor.
Nightcap at Top Deck at the Tugboat. The best way to end an amazing Boothbay Day is with a cocktail atop the town, at Tugboat’s Top Deck. Sit in the comfy couches, hi tops or by the fire table and reflect on your Boothbay day of adventures in this super fun friendly seaside town.
Boothbay Breakfast at Blue Moon Café or the Red Cup – both popular morning spots, so popular there is often a queue out onto Commercial Street. Leave your matey in line while you poke into nearby pirate shops till your table is ready. For coffee drinks, Brisetto’s Second Cup makes amazing lattes.
Stop & smell the flowers! Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is 250-acres of amazing flora and fauna, rock gardens, water features a sculpture gardens. These beautiful bountiful gardens are open year-round, including holiday light displays, classes and narrated walking tours. This is a great stop on your way out of Boothbay.
Boothbay Harbor Maine Attractions
Boating Tours and Cruises
Balmy Days Cruises | 42 Commercial St.
Boothbay Harbor 04538 207-633-2284
Black Jack Sport Fishing & Charters | 14 Williams St.
Boothbay Harbor 04538 207-633-6445 cell: 207-380-5445
Boothbay Whale Watch | Pier 6 – Boothbay Harbor 04538
Cabbage Island Clambakes | Pier 6 – East Boothbay 04544
Cap ‘n Fish’s Scenic Boat Trips/R.N. Fish & Son | Pier 1 –
Boothbay Harbor 04538 207-633-3244, 207-633-2626, 800-636-3244
Charger Charters | At Tugboat Inn – Boothbay Harbor 04538
207-882-9309, Cell: 207-380-4556
East Wind Schooner| Pier 6 – Boothbay Harbor 207-633-6598.
Sweet Action Charter Fishing | At Kaler’s Crab & Lobster
Boothbay Harbor 04538 Cell: 207-318-4898
Schooner Lazy Jack Cruises | Pier 1 – Boothbay Harbor 04538
Hardy Boat Cruises – Puffin Cruises, Lighthouse Cruises, Seal Watches, Harbor Tours | Shaw’s Wharf, New Harbor, ME –
45 minutes from Boothbay Harbor 207-677-2026, 800-278-3346
Points East Sailing Bareboat Charter | Barter’s Island Trevett 04571
East Boothbay Kayak Company | Rte. 96 – East Boothbay 04544
Salty Kayaks, Inc. | 21 Homestead Rd Southport 04576 207-633-4612
Tidal Transit Kayak Company (and bicycle rentals)| 18 Granary Way Boothbay Harbor 04538 207-633-7140
Bowling In the Center of Boothbay Harbor
Boothbay Railway Village | 586 Wiscasset Rd. (Rte. 27)
Boothbay 04537 207-633-4727
Burnt Island Living Lighthouse | Pier 8 –
Boothbay Harbor 04538 207-633-9500
Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Collection|
Rockland, ME 207-596-6457
Maine Maritime Museum | 243 Washington St.
Bath 04530 207-443-1316
Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum
97 Cross Rd. Alna 04535 207-882-4193
Arts and Entertainment
Carousel Music Theatre & Supper Club | 196 Townsend Ave.
Boothbay Harbor 04538 207-633-5297/800-757-5297
The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor | 86 Townsend Ave
Boothbay Harbor 04538 207-633-6855
Boothbay Country Club | 33 Country Club Rd.
Boothbay 04537 207-633-6085
Monkey C Monkey Do – Take the family to this adventure
course in Wiscasset Maine. Maine’s first and only high-flying
family adventure park and zip lines.
Hiking, touring, exploring the trails of numerous area land preserves including:
Barrett Park – On Linekin Bay, swimming, playground, picnic tables. Lobster Cove Road, Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens – Experience the natural beauty and wonder of this 128 acre preserve situated on 3600′ of shore frontage. Gardens and trails continuously being developed. The gardens are a living museum comprised of collections of plants managed for conservation, research and education. Trail maps on the premises on Barter’s Island Road in Boothbay. Contact number: 633-4333.
Damariscove Island – Site of one of the earliest American colonies (1605). Open to the public for hiking and bird watching (particularly nesting gulls and eider ducks). Over 200 rolling, treeless acres with a long gravel beach and narrow deep harbor. Now owned by Nature Conservancy. Call Chamber for info. on transportation. 207-633-2353
Dodge Point Preserve – On the Damariscotta River. 500 acres of forest, deep-water access, three beaches, hiking trails. Located on River Road, Newcastle.
Fisherman’s Memorial Park – Dory monument erected overlooking the harbor as a tribute to all the local fisherman lost at sea. Atlantic Avenue, Boothbay Harbor (across from Catholic Church).
Grimes Cove Beach – Local swimming area, located end of Ocean Point overlooking off-shore islands. You can walk here from Ocean Point Inn
Harold B. Clifford Community Playground – Modern and fun for all ages. Picnic tables and ball fields also available. Back River Road, Boothbay.
Knickercane Island Park – Boat ramp, picnic area and swimming. Barter’s Island Road, Boothbay.
Linekin Preserve – 94.6 acre parcel stretching from Route 96 to the Damariscotta River. 651 feet of river frontage and miles of hiking trails. off Route 96.